Today I Read…Evil Genius

Evil GeniusToday I read Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks, the first book in the Evil Genius series.

Cadel Piggott never quite belonged. Maybe it’s because he was adopted by very selfish people who aren’t interested in him. Maybe it’s because he has no friends at school. Maybe it’s because he likes to hack into high-security computer networks.

Or maybe it’s because he’s the secret son of the greatest criminal mastermind the world has ever known, a man who has been manipulating his life since birth and now plans for Cadel to attend a new school–the Axis Institute, a school for criminals, evil geniuses, and people who just want to destroy the world when they grow up.

Now Cadel will finally start to find out just who he is, and with a little hard work, just how much of an evil genius he can become.

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I picked this one up at one of the Friends of the Oakville Public Library used book sales. It seemed like a really cool concept, and it started off fine, but it’s just way too long. The story really needs to be tightened and have about 100 pages chopped off. I got bored and had to force myself to finish the book. There’s a very large cast of quirky characters, an Jinks devotes time to each of them and Cadel’s interactions with each one, and the story slows further. There are plots within plots for no good reason, and the story slows again.

Cadel’s crisis of conscience annoyed me. He’s got no particular redeeming moral qualities at the start of the book–yes, he’s a child, children grow up and become less selfish, I don’t care. If you’re going to be an evil villain, then have a little commitment to your role for evil’s sake. And he doesn’t even have a grand moral awakening, he just gets scared and decides that good is easier and more tolerable for him.

I still think that the idea has a lot of potential, but as is the story drags on too long and I just don’t care about the characters or their journey. Maybe someone else will like it, but it’s not going on my read-again list anytime soon.

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